The Democratic governor of Vermont, one of the most liberal enclaves in the country, has ended the state’s ObamaCare-inspired experiment with single-payer health insurance.
This is a big deal as Vermont was, as John Fund points out in National Review, not only wildly enthusiastic about ObamaCare but did it one better by adopting a version of Canada’s single-payer system that would have been fully implemented by 2017.
It is interesting that Jonathan Gruber, the ObamaCare architect who became infamous for stupidly disparaging the intelligence of Americans, was also the architect of the Vermont health plan. Gruber was reportedly paid $400,000 to design the system.
This week, however, Governor Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, admitted the state couldn’t afford the plan’s $2 billion price tag and consequent sky-high taxes, and pulled the plug. The lessons for Obamacare are obvious and profound. …
Business realities weighed heavily in Shumlin’s retreat. His experts calculated the state would need an 11.5 percent payroll tax and an additional income tax of up to 9.5 percent. That’s California-style taxation. “My health-care costs would have gone up by 61 percent if that plan had gone through,” Win Smith, the owner of the Sugarbush ski resort, told reporters. “If there were that 9 percent [income tax] on employees, many would have been paying more than they’re paying now. It would have been a lose-lose.” Shumlin admitted it would be irresponsible for him to be “pushing prematurely for single-payer” when “the risk of economic shock is too high at this time.”
But like any good liberal, Shumlin insisted on painting a rosy fantasy that he would bring back a single-payer plan. “[Medicare] took 31 years to become law. Medicaid took 50 years to pass; Social Security took 25 years,” he said in a statement. “Our time will come.” James Haslam of the Vermont Workers’ Center wasn’t buying it, calling Governor Shumlin’s retreat “a slap in the face” of single-payer backers.
Dream on, Guv. The Vermont system—like ObamaCare itself—apparently doesn’t function well outside a progressive fantasy.
The Vermont system fell because of economic realities, but it didn’t help the plan that the suddenly famous Dr. Gruber was its designer.
New media, Breitbart in particular, unlike the state’s old media outlets, relentlessly hammered the Gruber connection.